In the morning, as castanets echo in the distance, you will meet your private guide in front of your accommodation for a tour of many of the city's best and boldest highlights. If you have heard that all roads lead to Rome, then perhaps you have not heard Madrid's version of the story. You will set off just beyond your hotel at the Plaza del Sol, which is otherwise known as Kilometer 0 and from which all major highways in Spain originate. As the clock tower of Puerta del Sol chimes on the hours, Madrilenos are reminded of a Spanish New Year's tradition, in which families celebrate the Twelve Grapes of the new year as the famous clock strikes midnight.
Next, you will continue to the skyscrapers and flashing lights of Gran Via, which is Madrid's shopping mecca. You can peruse lavish shops and take pictures along this hectic avenue. Then, you will transform into royalty as you enter the gates of the Royal Palace, which is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. Throughout the afternoon, you will tour the ornate, gold-leafed halls of this opulent edifice. Then, you will step outside the palace walls to tour the meticulously manicured gardens that are complete with elegant white statues, tepid water basins, and beautifully formed hedges.
Later this afternoon, you will cross town to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, where you can see the extensive art collections of the famed Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, including Picasso's original Guernica. In the evening, you will wander through the beautiful Parque El Retiro. The scenic rose gardens and grassy green pastures offer residents a respite from the concrete jungle of city life. Horse and buggy carriages will clop along the boulevards of Paseo de la Argentina and Avenida de Mexico, and you can step inside a charming paddle boat to glide along Retiro Pond and admire the charming foliage at every turn.